Rosemary, pecan & Olive Oil Soda Bread

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You know the moment when you feel like hot, crusty bread to go with soup - then reach into the pantry to discover the bread tin is empty? Well that problem is easily solved with this delicious soda bread that takes a couple of minutes to mix and just 30 minutes to bake. So by the time the minestrone is bubbling away on the stove, your bread will be ready.

It’s a basic scone (or biscuit in the USA) dough - made without yeast. But instead of butter or margarine, extra virgin olive oil is used to create a wonderfully moist, fluffy texture. It also makes the texture very even too, as the olive oil is quickly incorporated into the flour without forming lumps.

The addition of fresh rosemary and crunchy pecans adds a delightful more-ish flavour - and the combination goes deliciously well. But you can substitute walnuts, or whichever nuts or seeds you prefer. (Or leave them out altogether if you can’t tolerate nuts - it will still taste good!) The fresh rosemary adds a slightly salty flavour and the most wonderful aroma.

I used self raising wholemeal flour for this recipe. If you don’t have that on hand, you could use plain wholemeal flour and baking powder instead, although it won’t be quite as fluffy. (2 teaspoons baking powder per cup of plain flour.) I’m lucky to have an organic bulk food store nearby, so I can buy this in bulk.

Rosemary, Pecan and Olive Oil Soda Bread

2 cups Self Raising wholemeal flour

1 heaped tablespoon fresh rosemary sprigs

½ teaspoon river* or sea salt flakes

1 cup pecans

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Approximately 100 ml ice cold water

  • Preheat a fan-forced oven to 200 degrees C.

  • Place flour and salt in food processor and whiz to combine.

  • Strip the leaves from the rosemary, and add the leaves to food processor with the olive oil.

  • Whiz for a minute or so.

  • With motor turned off, tip in all the water at once, then whiz just until a soft dough
    is formed. Add a bit more iced water if needed.

  • Mound the mixture into one small loaf on the centre of a baking sheet. Press down with your hands till it is about 3 cm high.

  • Bake the bread in the hot oven for approximately 30 minutes or until crustily golden.

  • Eat warm or wrap in a clean tea towel to keep fresh for the day.

    * we use River Murray sea salt flakes for all our cooking. I’ve been using it for many years, and the children have grown up with it, much preferring the delicate taste of it to even the most expensive sea salt. I started using it when I read that it helped to reduce salinity in the River Murray, by extracting salt from the ancient saline aquifers of the Murray Darling basin (thereby reducing the sodium which would otherwise reach the river). As we are pumping a lot of the water out of the river system for agricultural use, this seems a small step to help restore some balance, albeit on a small scale. Happily, the salt flakes are lower in sodium but higher in magnesium than standard sea salt, taste better and the pale pink colour looks attractive too. This is not a sponsored comment - just a sincere opinion.

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